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Will McCarthy’s Debt Limit Deal cost him his job?

By: Harshil Yerrabelli

Far-right legislators, who have resisted increasing the nation’s borrowing limit for years, were not afraid to share how they thought Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy proceeded during negotiations with President Biden over avoiding a federal default. Representative Dan Bishop of North Carolina, who was fed up with McCarthy’s "lies" about the deal he was going to get, claimed that "nobody could have done a worse job". Representative Bob Good of Virginia was shocked that "our own leadership" caved to Democrats on major positions of the debt limit bill that Republicans passed earlier. Representative Chip Roy of Texas said the deal had divided the party and promised that the leaders of the GOP would be reckoned with.

Even with all the fury about the deal, few far-right lawmakers have yet to seriously consider the idea of removing McCarthy from his position. However, if he relies on Democrats more than Republicans to win a procedural vote to get the debt-limit deal and pass the measure, a motion to remove McCarthy as speaker could still arise.
So far, though, there has been no initiative to do so, even among the extremists in his party, as he negotiated a compromise with the president that would lose conservatives’ votes while not infuriating the far right. As a result, McCarthy himself said that he was not worried about highly conservative Republicans trying to remove him.


Under the rules House Republicans adopted at the beginning of the year that helped Mr. McCarthy become speaker, any single lawmaker could call for a snap vote to remove him from that role, something that would take a majority of the House. Hard-right Republicans like Dan Bishop and Representative Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado, have publicly stated that they have considered the consequences of ousting McCarthy from his post and have discussed the issue with the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania.


Although McCarthy has received backlash from members of his party, he has rallied the support of influential conservatives like Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who sits on the powerful Rules Committee. These backings from important Republicans go to show a cornerstone of McCarthy’s leadership: convincing those whose opposition (in this case) to the deal could have doomed the bill.

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